Swansea 1 Hull City 1: Three talking points
Swansea 1 Hull City 1: Three talking points as Steve Bruce's men are denied maximum points at Liberty Stadium
Swansea struggling to gain momentum
Another frustrating night on what is turning into a frustrating season from Swansea. After taking one step forward by inflicting Newcastle’s only defeat in five games with a magnificent 3-0 win mid-week, they took another step back on Monday. From the first whistle there was a lack of urgency and concentration, epitomised by captain Ashley Williams’ shambolic pass to present Ahmed Elmohamady with the chance to cross for the opening goal. Complacency looked an issue against a Hull side that had lost all but one of their away games. In any case, Swansea are still yet to register consecutive victories in the league. It took Danny Graham’s first goal in 11 months and some stern words from Michael Laudrup to get them going and even then they lacked penetration and were reliant on two huge slices of fortune. Martin Atkinson got two handball decisions wrong, first allowing Chico Flores’ equaliser to stand before failing to award Hull a penalty. For all their 66 per cent of possession , two shots on target highlights a real flaw in the Dane’s tactics. Their next seven games include Everton, Chelsea, both Manchester clubs and Tottenham. They really needed a win from this clash to avoid looking over their shoulder slightly nervously at a relegation fight they should be too good for. Be wary Swans fans – bigger teams have gone down.
Hull continue to impress
When Steve Bruce’s side gained a surprise promotion last season, few tipped them to have the quality to survive. Yet, almost halfway through the season, they are showing many characteristics to suggest that they deserve to play at this level. They have picked up four wins from seven at home and creditable points at St James’ Park and now the Liberty Stadium. Strong home form with some bonus points on the road is usually enough to keep teams up. Furthermore, they look organised and tough to break down, a characteristic many promoted teams fail to possess. With 18 goals conceded, the same as second-placed Liverpool, they have the best defensive record in the bottom half. Tom Huddlestone and Jake Livermore are adept passers in midfield, with David Meyler doing the dirty work. It is going forward where they struggle, with only Crystal Palace and Cardiff scoring less but this has not stopped them from getting results. They need to get the highly-creative Robbie Brady back from injury as soon as possible. They will know better than to take their good start for granted – last time they were promoted they sat sixth at this stage before only managing one with after the turn of the year.
Referees continue to get big decisions wrong
Michel Platini this week sparked a ludicrous debate regarding sin bins being introduced into football. Referees need to be shown more respect but rather than doing so by increasing their authority, the governing bodies need to find ways of helping them make the right decisions. At present, they do not deserve the respect of players and fans with the sheer volume of poor performances. Granted, it is a very difficult job but they are paid a lot of money and the quality of their work has monumental effects. Bruce set his side up perfectly to come to Swansea but left with two points less than he should have. The arm used by Chico Flores to steer the ball past Allan McGregor was somewhat masked but at the other end, Dwight Tiendalli’s handball was an easy, easy decision and was not spotted. Once again a referee influencing the result of the game is the topic of discussion when it should be a superb Hull performance that ensured a second away win of the season.